Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

10 October 2011

Write -- and More -- Every Day

"Write every day."  That's what They say; and how many times have you heard that?  Well, it's good advice, but let's face it, it's not always easy to follow ... unless a grocery list counts (and the jury's still out on that). 

If I were They, I'd say "Do something for your writing every day."  I haven't worked on a novel or a short story or a poem today, but I have worked on my website, updated my business card template with a QR code, and when I'm done here, I will have blogged.  All those things definitely count.

Something else I do -- and you can too -- is participate in National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a. NaNoWriMo.  The goal is to write 50,000 words in November, and yes, that's easier if you actually do write every day.  But reaching that goal also requires developing other skills.
* Organizing your time.  You're getting ready for Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays, too, so put writing on your calendar in ink.
* Putting some thought into your plot.  ("Outlining" your book doesn't have to be all I, II, a, b c, i, ii, iii.)
* Learning how to write your draft all the way through instead of stopping to edit as you go.
* Reaching out to other writers, online or in person, when the regional NaNo gangs get together.

Speaking of other writers, think about joining a writing group, and save up some time and money to attend a conference or a seminar every year.  (Every day would be wonderful, but then there'd really be no time to write!)

Every day, and not just in November, keep a notebook in your purse or pocket (along with a pen or pencil), and one beside your bed and your favorite chair -- and write down even the vaguest of ideas.  Cut out newspaper articles.  Keep them in an accessible file -- mine's called Names, Notes & Scrappy Bits -- and when you have time to write but no specific topics, go through your notebooks or files.

One more thing you can do for your writing every day: when you meet new people, and they ask you what you do, tell 'em you're a writer.  They'll want to know what you write, so have an answer ready.  "I'm working on a great American novel," you might say, or "Mostly poetry, but I'm experimenting with screenplays." Maybe you'll say, "Short stories." 

Give yourself five minutes -- right now or ... after breakfast tomorrow? -- to come up with a one-sentence answer.  Just don't say "Grocery lists."

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